5 Cost-Effective Ways to Empower Your Employees in Uncertain Times

With the pandemic continuing to disrupt daily life, employees are likely to feel uncertain about their future within a company. This blog post explores the ways in which you can reassure your team and promote a culture of positivity, empowerment, and hope during these uncertain times.

The pandemic continues to impact every aspect of life in Europe and beyond, with many countries around the world going in and out of lockdown. This level of uncertainty creates stress in every aspect of our lives, especially on a professional level. No company has been unaffected by the events of 2020, and many have had to make employee cuts or reduce working hours. Some people are working from home, while those working in the office have returned to an unrecognizable workplace with eerily quiet corridors, many friends and colleagues no longer there. Those still in employment are taking on even more work to make up for the reduced workforce. 

It’s an intimidating and uncertain time for any company, which is why it’s more crucial than ever to focus on the well-being and fulfilment of employees so they can feel secure in their future. Promotions may have been retracted and salary increases put on hold, but there are other ways to make your team feel like they’re progressing.

Management and team leads can focus on discovering new tools and techniques to reassure and empower their team. This won’t just help keep them motivated and positive, it will make them feel valued and secure as well. So here are some easy, cost-effective strategies you can implement during these turbulent times…

1. Be transparent

It’s perfectly normal for management to play their cards close to their chests, keeping plans for the future of the business to themselves. However, in this unique scenario it’s important that employees are aware of the future strategy of their company. That’s why weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly company-wide virtual meetings should be scheduled to update employees of the state of the business.

This meeting will include both good and bad news. However, people much prefer certainty to uncertainty, and without transparency employee imagination will run wild, and they’ll picture the worst possible scenario, which might be worse than the reality. 

2. Provide opportunity for progression

Promotions and pay rises may be on hold, but there’s no reason why prospects for employees should be on hold as well. A good way to reassure employees of their future in your company is to invest in their development. This doesn’t have to be expensive — there’s no need to send them on month-long courses or provide stacks of learning material. Instead you could give them access to cost-effective, digital learning resources. This format is beneficial as you can pay a flat-rate for company-wide access to courses that can be tailored to the needs of the individual.

Some good examples of digital learning are subscription-based offerings like Masterclass. Here employees can learn Creativity and Leadership from Anna Wintour, Self-Expression and Authenticity from RuPaul, and much more. Similarly Babbel for Business is a digital language solution that will give your employees access to 14 languages with industry-specific lessons to help further their prospects in their field.

3. Delegation and autonomy

Most companies aren’t able to hand out promotions at the moment, but you can still prepare your team for the possibility. This means delegating senior tasks to junior employees so that they can start learning the ropes. The message will be clear: at some point in the future, you hope to promote them. This in itself is empowering.

Similarly, allowing them full autonomy in their current role and in new tasks will help them feel valued and trusted. As a manager, it’s important to help, support, and guide them without micromanaging. Trust them to do a great job and the chances are, they will. 

4. Encourage self-improvement

There might not be much budget for expensive training courses or exciting business trips abroad. However, management should continue to communicate the importance of self-care and self-improvement outside the workplace. What does this look like? It means helping your team manage their workload and ensuring that they aren’t working overtime from home, as well as providing them with self-improvement perks such as subsidized fitness options, language learning, or digital team workshops. Just make sure these courses are lockdown-proof and can be attended consistently in a digital setting.

Now, more than ever, work-life balance is crucial. With most employees working from home, it can be difficult for them to draw a line between their work life and down time, and having a manager that encourages them to do so will make them feel valued, less stressed, and will ultimately lead to better performance.

5. Play to their strengths

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team will help you decide which tasks will bring out the best in them and boost their confidence. For example, if a content marketer loves writing but isn’t good at numbers, don’t pass on budget-based tasks or send over dozens of spreadsheets. It will only make them feel stressed and inadequate.

Or perhaps one of your employees is a great public speaker. Invite them to host a digital workshop, sharing their skills and expertise with their colleagues and peers. It will make them feel confident, valued, noticed, and, best of all, empowered.

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